Unlock has since partnered with international allies to produce new instalments of our travelling Unlock Book Fair in different European cities. The project’s reach quickly expanded to include offshoot Unlock events in cities as far as Mexico and Moscow.
After eight years, and a long list of institutional partners, the Unlock Book Fair is still an insider event attracting the more specialised side of the graffiti scene. Most exhibiting publishers are small, self-supported ventures.
If you want to discover cutting-edge graffiti books and zines, the Unlock Book Fair is the place.
Graffiti publishers put out outstanding books and zines, but online purchase is often the only option for interested readers. Checking books first is not possible, and multiple books often involve more than one shipping.
The Unlock Book Fair gives visitors the exceptional opportunity to touch, browse through and directly purchase the books of many independent graffiti publishers, all in one place.
Graffiti leads to particular readings of the city, and to other fascinating subcultural activities.
At the Unlock Book Fair we support the way graffiti publishers have naturally incorporated into their work topics such as trainhopping or urbex, often unnoticed as close relatives to graffiti writing.
Unlock aims at making the fair a comfortable space for everyone. We offer complimentary lunch for publishers and a place to hang out and socialise after the fair.
Our programme has hosted the launch of milestone books and rare zines, talks by world-leading artists and specialists, screenings of long-lost films, exhilarating and hilarious readings, and even graffiti-inspired dance acts.
The Unlock Book Fair has themed its public programme around particular topics in two occasions. The fair in Berlin in 2017 studied hobo graffiti, while the one in Amsterdam in 2018 explored the relation of punk and graffiti.
In those two years the Unlock team conducted extensive research including deep studies of international private archives. The result was shaped into extended public programmes featuring unveilings of unknown documentation, unique lectures and the edition of three groundbreaking books.
Carlo McCormick, Bill Daniel, Rafael Schacter, Alan Ket, François Chastanet, Jakob Kimval, Dumar NovYork, Peter Stelzig, Susan Phillips, Carl Cattermole, Robert Kaltenhäuser, Mathieu Tremblin, Malcolm Jacobson, Tobias Barenthin Lindblad, Andrea Mubi Brighenti, Erik Hannerz, Graffitireview.com, Lachlan MacDowall, Allison Young, Susan Hansen, Christian Omodeo, Enrico Bonadio
Saeio, Brad Downey, Boris Tellegen, Akay, Escif, Kevin Kemter, Alexandre ‘Mosa’ Bavard, Sam3, Emmett E., Alex Fakso, Loiq, Adam Void, Cyop & Kaf, Igor Ponosov, Hugo Kaagman, Diana Ozon, Again, Mick La Rock, Luca Barcellona, Epos257
Academic studies of contemporary graffiti have historically tended to lack a first-hand knowledge of the culture, and to barely scratch its surface.
Fortunately, for a few years now the graffiti writers themselves have taken on the task of producing studies that reach deep into the culture, its mysteries and its most advanced developments.
Many insider graffiti studies take the form of books and zines, produced by graffiti writers turned independent publishers who don’t think of their work as research. They are simply following their passion for graffiti.
Unlock is proud to provide the space for the actors in this independent research scene to meet in person, share findings and build a stronger community.
Street art conferences cover graffiti as well, but we felt it was lacking proper attention. This is why in 2017 we conceived the first Tag Conference for the Freie Universität Berlin.
Graffiti had to be in the spotlight, but we decided to go all the way through and focus exclusively on tagging, probably the most underrated, underexplored and fascinating form of public art.
Since then, the Tag Conference has traveled to different European cities to host talks from over 70 speakers coming from 19 countries on 4 continents.
The Unlock Book Fair and the Tag Conference are both produced by the Unlock team, but they are separate events with different focus and programs. They usually take place on consecutive days to create the perfect week for graffiti enthusiasts.
If you want to take our events to your city and be part of this unique ongoing culture program, you can become a partner of Unlock.
Key pioneer of Spanish subway graffiti and early proponent of anti-style. Abarca is the go-to graffiti scholar in Spanish language and a world-leading specialist respected in underground and institutional settings. Editor of rare graffiti books.
Notorious NYC street bomber and a force of nature. Dumar lived in Berlin for years, where he became a pivotal player in graffiti studies. He is author of insightful texts about graffiti, and his colossal readings are a highlight of the fair.
Influential pioneer of Greek graffiti, architect and professional scholar, and editor of sought-after graffiti magazines and books. Pangalos is the head of the Scientific Committee at the Tag Conference.
➔ Other permanent staff
Edward Birzin PhD, academic advisor | Esther Fdez. Castelo, production | Exágono, web development
➔ The local crews
Unlock thanks the international players who shared our vision and helped it grow, in particular Xavier Ballaz, Akim, Pedro Soares, David Demougeot, Robert Kaltenhäuser, Jasper van Es, Georg Barringhaus, Pietro Rivasi, Hugo Engwerda and Mirko Reisser.
We also thank the graffiti enthusiasts who have been part of the Unlock working team in different cities, among them Alexandra Sol, Xavier Basiana, Enrique Escandell, Ana Manaia, Rocco Berger, Jaume Gómez, Gabriel Calvín, Quentin Coussirat, Robin Vermeulen, Ben Brohanszky and Margrit Miebach.
➔ Special thank-you
Carlo McCormick, Susan Phillips, Bill Daniel, Hitzerot.